Page 441 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013
We have had a number of ceremonial tree plantings; we have had some very high-level people plant trees at the arboretum. I have certainly been there with the United Nations Director-General, the presidents of Lebanon, Portugal, Thailand. I know that Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark came, as did the Swedish ambassador. We have had people like Glenn McGrath from the McGrath Foundation—and we know all the work they do around breast cancer—and the Prime Minster of New Guinea. Anyone I go up there with, any prominent person, cannot believe that we took the opportunity we did to do something like this and plant 100 endangered forests right in the centre of our city. It is not happening anywhere else in the world and I think it is something that we should be proud of.
I would, in conclusion, say that it would be nice to have members of the opposition there. There have been times when I have invited all members of the Assembly to be at the arboretum, and the opposition, for whatever reason, have chosen just not to participate. I have to say that it is embarrassing when you have internationally prominent officials and politicians come and there are only representatives from the government of the local Assembly. And I would hope that now that it is open we see that change, that when you are invited, we do see a representative come from the Liberal Party or the opposition and actually attend.
Mr Doszpot: We did attend. Mr Smyth and I had attended functions.
MS GALLAGHER: I am not talking about a free dinner, Mr Doszpot. I am talking about when we plant trees, with foreign dignitaries, that the opposition is represented there. Quite often I have had those dignitaries ask: “Where is your opposition leader?” Not here! Does not come here! Does not believe in it! And it does get awkward. So hopefully under Mr Hanson’s leadership we will see a change in that and there will be attendance at those very important functions by members of the Assembly. (Time expired.)
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (10.45), in reply: In closing, can I just thank everybody for their contributions to this motion today and touch on a few comments, firstly, from Mr Hanson. I am glad that he has acknowledged the arboretum is there. It has been there for a little while now, but I am glad he has acknowledged that and that he looks forward to visiting the arboretum. It is an absolutely spectacular sight.
I was a bit concerned in his comments where he mentioned the future is unclear for Canberra. I do not know. I think Canberra has a very strong future. I was born here in the ACT. We have a nickname for those born in the ACT in my day, and that is BLers, “before the lake”. I have watched Canberra grow from a city of some 20,000 people to now 370,000 people and I think the roots that we have planted in that city’s growth and the future that we are seeing now are very strong.
In response to Mr Rattenbury’s comments, I am glad to hear the good news that the CIT horticultural program is going ahead at Bruce and, of course, it is wonderful to see the work they are putting in there. Just to comment on his concerns or the Greens’ concerns on the day about the conversations with the arboretum on climate change not appearing on the website, it does actually appear twice on the website, although it is in